Interesting piece in the NY Times about physicists and the Wall Street meltdown worth reading, a topic we have covered several times. Buried within is this nugget:
Physicists began to follow the jobs from academia to Wall Street in the late 1970s, when the post-Sputnik boom in science spending had tapered off and the college teaching ranks had been filled with graduates from the 1960s. The result, as Dr. Derman said, was a pipeline with no jobs at the end. Things got even worse after the cold war ended and Congress canceled the Superconducting Supercollider, which would have been the world’s biggest particle accelerator, in 1993.
They arrived on Wall Street in the midst of a financial revolution. Among other things, galloping inflation had made finances more complicated and risky, and it required increasingly sophisticated mathematical expertise to parse even simple investments like bonds. Enter the quant.
The SSC only cost a couple of billion, and by comparison, seems pretty cheap.